Media Outlets Should Say Ethan Crumbley’s Name
The suspect in the shooting this week at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, is named Ethan Crumbley. But Anderson Cooper refuses to say his name.
On his show on Wednesday, the CNN anchor presented a tear-jerking tribute to the four students who were killed this week at the school.
When it came to Crumbley, Cooper said, “Though his name, by necessity, is in the criminal docket, it will not be part of our reporting.”
Although it is understandable that the media does not want to promote an alleged shooter, or inspire future mass shootings, that is not the job of the press. Dark stories, from shootings to other crimes to actions of repressive regimes, are everyday headlines and are a part of life. We can only pray that we see better days.
As it pertains to covering mass shootings and other tragedies, there must be a balance in coverage as it pertains to the victim(s) and perpetrator(s) even if the coverage is understandably positive for the former and negative for the latter. Journalists should get background on both sides – as is with the case with any story.
But omitting the name of the suspect goes against one of the “Five W’s” in journalism, specifically, Who. The name of the suspect is not anonymous. By Cooper’s standard, should we not call out by name evil leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ali Khamenei and Rodrigo Duterte? There are those out there who will be inspired by such figures.
At the end of the day, the prevention of mass shootings is a job for the authorities, policymakers and the people. News should just stick to reporting, both the good and bad.
May the memory of Hana Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, Justin Shilling and Tate Myre be for a blessing. And may Ethan Crumbley face justice.
Watch above, via CNN.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.